Shinnen Enkai (New Years Banquet) (新年宴会)

Shinnen Enkai is a holiday which used to be celebrated before the World War II. It falls on January 5.

In addition to the Imperial family, officials appointed by the emperor (ministers [Japan], senior government official, military men, etc.) as well as foreign ambassadors were invited to the Imperial court to celebrate the banquet for the New Year on a grand scale. Ordinary people also held banquets following this custom, which is said to be the origin of today's New Year's party.

Shinnen Enkai originates from Ganjitsu no Sechi-e (Court ritual of Reception and Audience of Politicians) which used to be held in the Imperial court from Nara period. It was not held since the Muromachi period but was revived in the Meiji period. As there are many events taking place in the Imperial court on the New Year's day, the banquet was moved to January 5 since 1872 and named "Shinnen Enkai." From 1872 through 1874, it was held over two days from January 5 to 6; however, it was held only one day on January 5 since 1875. It was canceled in some years due to incidents.

[Original Japanese]